Cramps when racing

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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby mikesbytes » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:23 am

chronic fatigue is something that I keep a close eye on. My work/lifestyle definitely puts me at risk.

Yes I am seriously fit and my legs are immensely strong. However in road racing its much more about the endurance of the muscles rather than the strength.

My past history of cramping predates my life as a sports cyclist, you could say I have a disposition to cramping, so I need to be especially careful not to create the environment where cramps occur
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by BNA » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:44 am

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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:44 am

If it predates, then apart from avoiding the possible exacerbating factors, it's worth having it checked medically. If nothing found, then it may just be a genetic variance that you'll have to live with. But hopefully, there'll something you can do to avoid them in races. Oddly enough, i would consider a review in Chinese medicine when you are not finding a specific cause. Chinese herbal medicine can be effective in some of these poorly explained chronic bodily conditions. No promises but worth considering.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby winstonw » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:15 pm

mikesbytes wrote:chronic fatigue is something that I keep a close eye on. My work/lifestyle definitely puts me at risk.

Yes I am seriously fit and my legs are immensely strong. However in road racing its much more about the endurance of the muscles rather than the strength.

My past history of cramping predates my life as a sports cyclist, you could say I have a disposition to cramping, so I need to be especially careful not to create the environment where cramps occur


ask yourself these questions,
- which muscles cramp? L and R equally?
- what attention do you give these muscles? stretching? massage?
- what's your history of injury to these muscles?
- do you have low back pain or a history of such? what side?
- what's your general diet?
- what's you hydration strategy?
- are you a heavy sweater? and have you ever measured your sweat rate?
- do you sleep deeply? how many hours per night on average?
- do you dream a lot?

and take the answers to both AIS experienced sports physiologist and physiotherapist
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:19 pm

Yes there are so many factors to take into account its almost mind blowing.

Took a blood test today, results back Monday. Either that will find something or almost eliminate a bunch of things.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby Nikolai » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:35 pm

mikesbytes wrote:What are the common reasons for cramping durning racing?


Nobody knows :)
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:34 am

Nikolai wrote:Nobody knows :)

No one has taken the Nobel prize for Medicine on this yet.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby mikesbytes » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:01 am

Yesterday I managed to cramp. What happened is that I went to the gym at lunchtime and forgot my water bottle. While I drank from the bubblier before and after the 2 classes, it wasn't what I normally drink. Then in the evening I went to another gym and did a class forgetting my water bottle again :( This time I suffered calf cramps towards the end of session and hamstring cramps during quad stretches afterwards
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby Marty Moose » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:12 am

It seems no one really knows. All I know is I used to be a chronic cramper at one stage I used to take quinate to help with them , I also had a hacking cough. I was told by a dietitian who was over for lunch I had a salt deficiency! On her advice I started to put salt in my food take biochemical ceuticals pharma mag 250mg and endura in my water on longer rides. Result no more cough or asthma steroids (thanks Mr gp you clown) and no more cramps on the bike or off. For me it was salts it has had a profound effect on my life no asthma and excruciating night time cramps is just amazing. I know the are other factors but for me its salts.

Mike do you have a bad cough after racing??

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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby kicker661 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:25 am

Marty Moose wrote:It seems no one really knows. I was told by a dietitian who was over for lunch I had a salt deficiency! I know the are other factors but for me its salts.


The dietician whilst on the correct path, completely missed the mechanism of WHY you are cramping. You aren't salt deficient. You are overheating!

Most cramps are positional (which is why Mike started cramping when stretching) or bought on by heat in the muscle (why you started cramping).

Heat causes the enzymes to slow down/stop because the muscle cannot dissipate heat fast enough.

This is why when cycling you pour water on your calves if you feel them start to cramp up!

Comments from multiple people on here who say they cramp less when they are fitter. It's because the muscle is not working as hard as before so heat dissipation is not an issue and the muscle can continue functioning. Also, you are possibly lighter when at your fittest which puts less load on your muscles and keeps you cooler.


Heavier people nearly always complain of cramping, mostly in the calves. Almost all of them will tell you salt helps keep the cramps away. It's not a salt deficiency that is the cause. The cause of their cramping is overheating and in our rather sad world, people choose to eat a stack more salt rather than choose the correct solution which would be to drop weight.

I'd keep clear of the salt and add 1 teaspoon of Taurine to my drink bottle when cycling. That should stop the cramps or at least drastically lower the severity.

(i type rather bluntly so if the above sounds bad/harsh or whatever, it's not meant to, just how i type). I hope the above helps you guys having issues.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby Marty Moose » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:16 am

Good points however most of my cramps are of the bike rarely in the calf and with a 32" waist is hardly call myself fat. And what about the cough its gone as well. Bit of salt and magnesium = no cramps for me.

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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby Sith1 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:50 am

Marty Moose wrote:Good points however most of my cramps are of the bike rarely in the calf and with a 32" waist is hardly call myself fat. And what about the cough its gone as well. Bit of salt and magnesium = no cramps for me.

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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:45 pm

kicker661 wrote:Heat causes the enzymes to slow down/stop because the muscle cannot dissipate heat fast enough.

Gosh, I just threw my biochemistry textbook and notes out the window. Temperature up, enzymatic activity up (within range). Given this is your core assumption, I'll wait until this is cleared before reading on.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby warthog1 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:14 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Yesterday I managed to cramp. What happened is that I went to the gym at lunchtime and forgot my water bottle. While I drank from the bubblier before and after the 2 classes, it wasn't what I normally drink. Then in the evening I went to another gym and did a class forgetting my water bottle again :( This time I suffered calf cramps towards the end of session and hamstring cramps during quad stretches afterwards


Maybe you are just getting old and clapped out Mike :P
Happens to us all eventually :(
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby kicker661 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:33 pm

sogood wrote:
kicker661 wrote:Given this is your core assumption, I'll wait until this is cleared before reading on.


No, the cramps can be due to different causes but i was saying to Marty that if salt was solving his issue it'd be most likely overheating of the muscle. ATP production slows with increased heat and then you cramp up. It's a shame you don't want to read my posts :(

If Marty is not cramping in his calves but in the quads or hamstrings, then it's still heat related. Marty, where are you cramping?

The calves sit vertical and are being blasted by the wind which aids in cooling the muscles. The quads and hammies are horizontal so they do not receive the same airflow and are also covered in heat/moisture retaining clothing.

Lie on the beach in the sun during Summer. Get nice and toasty then stand up and run on the sand. See how quickly your legs cramp up!

Beach Volleyball players constantly complain of leg cramps. They are standing for hours on hot sand in the blasting sun.

A fair point about the salt/mag helping the cramps but i'd consider that upping your intake has increased your water retention. When you dehydrate on the bike your blood gets thicker, thereby lowering circulation causing a decrease in the ability to cool the muscles. Holding more water is going to keep your blood thinner = better circulation = better heat reduction.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby sogood » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:43 pm

kicker661 wrote:ATP production slows with increased heat and then you cramp up.

Given this is your core assumption, please show the evidence for the first part of the statement. And also advise what's your assumed temperature elevation to induce this effect. If this statement is not validated, then none follows. Thanks.
The calves sit vertical and are being blasted by the wind which aids in cooling the muscles. The quads and hammies are horizontal so they do not receive the same airflow and are also covered in heat/moisture retaining clothing.

Lie on the beach in the sun during Summer. Get nice and toasty then stand up and run on the sand. See how quickly your legs cramp up!

Beach Volleyball players constantly complain of leg cramps. They are standing for hours on hot sand in the blasting sun.

What do you think is the main thermo-regulation mechanism for the body? As for the beach goer examples, I think your scientific methodology needs to be a lot more sophisticated than just that!

Edit: Added the word "more" in "...needs to be a lot more sophisticated..."
Last edited by sogood on Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cramps when racing

Postby kicker661 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:54 pm

sogood wrote: I think your scientific methodology needs to be a lot sophisticated than just that!


Ok, no probs.
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